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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999. Interview K-0814. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Dalal's invisiblilty as an Indian immigrant

Dalal experienced little change in how she was treated since her first arrival in the United States. While other ethnic and racial groups share a similar economic plight to Dalal, they rarely communicate with each other. Her social invisibility only faded when Americans attempted to convert her religion.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999. Interview K-0814. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

ANDREW JILANI:
Okay. Uh-huh. You told me that when you came, you didn't like-, you felt prejudiced—.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
That's it.
ANDREW JILANI:
Prejudism. Yeah. How do you feel now?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
It is same.
ANDREW JILANI:
It's same?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
It is same.
ANDREW JILANI:
It is same. Okay.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Yeah.
ANDREW JILANI:
Okay. People—.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
I have a-, I have a restaurant—.
ANDREW JILANI:
People-, the Americans still make fun of-, er…. Indian speaking, and—.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
That is-, I-, there is—. I'm not speaking.
ANDREW JILANI:
Uh-huh.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
They don't talk with me, or speak with me. But-, if you-, if you work somewhere-, some people just don't talk with you, say "hello", or "how are you", or something like that. Or just-, turn the face, you know! I have a neighbor—they are Mexican family—every time I see in the store, or bank, or somewhere, she just don't say "hello" in all these twenty years! You know-, Mexican-, you know. But-, she never talk!
ANDREW JILANI:
She never talks.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
My- my daughter's parents-, or their friend's-, they talk with me, but-, other people don't talk.
ANDREW JILANI:
You mean your daughter's friends' parents-, they talk with you?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Yeah. They talk with me. But-, other people, no! One day I go in the church-, in-, ahm…. Only two people talk with me!
ANDREW JILANI:
Hmm…. Which-, which church was that?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
It's in downtown. There is a [unclear] church, so I don't care what church, and whatever. They-, ask me to come in the church to change my religion, and I don't want to change it.
ANDREW JILANI:
Uh-huh.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Whatever I believe, it is best for me.
ANDREW JILANI:
Okay.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
So, they just try to change me, you know. (That) come in the church, and—. But, I never go in the church in my life, and I am not going. If I don't go-, in Hillsboro-, my Hare-Krishna temple, or Hindu-Bhavan in Raleigh, I stay home and pray myself in my house, but-, I'm not going in church, because I believe my religious (religion) is best, and my culture is best. I don't want to be changed. I am still vegetarian—.
ANDREW JILANI:
Uh-huh.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
And I respect my culture, my tradition(s), whatever I have-, I respect—.